the triple ray which descends from His eternity upon
our transitory existence. We cannot therefore
seriously admit that God of the pure reason, separated
from the God of the conscience and of the heart.
Still let us endeavor to make this concession, for
argument’s sake, to our philosopher. Let
us suppose that the reason has a God to itself, a God
for the metaphysicians who is not the God of the vulgar.
Before we immolate upon His altar the conscience and
the heart, it is worth our while to examine whether
the statue of the God of the reason rests upon a solid
pedestal. Here are the theses which are proposed
to us: “It is impossible for our feelings
to supply any light for science. Truth may be
gloomy, and despair may gain its cause. Virtue
may be wrong, and immorality may be the true.
Reason alone judges of that which is.” I
answer: Human nature has always eagerly followed
after happiness. Human nature has always acknowledged,
even while violating it, a rule of duty. The
heart is not an accident, the conscience is not a prejudice:
they are, and by the same right as the reason, constituent
elements of our spiritual existence. If there
exist an irreconcilable antagonism between science
and life; if the heart, in its fundamental and universal
aspirations, is the victim of an illusion, if the conscience
in its clearest admonitions is only a teacher of error,
what is our position? In what I am now saying,
Gentlemen, I am not appealing to your feelings; the
business is to follow, with calm attention, a piece
of exact reasoning. If the heart deceives us,
if the voice of duty leads us astray, the disorder
is at the very core of our being; our nature is ill
constructed. If our nature is ill constructed,
what warrants to us our reason? Nothing.
What assures us that our axioms are good, and that
our reasonings have any value? Nothing.
The life of the soul cannot be arbitrarily cloven
in twain; it must be held for good in all its constituent
elements, or enveloped wholly and entirely in the shades
of doubt. If the heart and conscience deceive
us, then reason may lead us astray, and the very idea
of truth disappears. God is the light of the
spiritual world. We prove His existence by showing
that without Him all returns to darkness. This
demonstration is as good as another.
 Christian States have given the force of law
to institutions, such, for instance, as monogamy,
which date their origin from the Gospel records.
Here we have the normal development of civilization:
religious faith enlightens the general conscience,
and reveals to it the true conditions of social progress.
In this order of things, it is not a question of beliefs,
but of acts imposed in the name of the interests
of society. The state may take account of the
religious beliefs of its subjects, and enter into
such relations as may seem to it convenient with the
ecclesiastical authorities: this is the basis